Maria Connolly, LPC

Category: Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is twice as valuable as IQ in the business world, since the emotional health of the team directly impacts productivity, motivation, engagement and loyalty. This means a person has the emotional intelligence that encompasses an ability to 1) identify and manage one’s own emotions, 2) identify and understand someone else’s emotions, and 3) relate well to others personally and professionally even under the most stressful situations. This requires that a person be self-aware, self-regulating and empathetic. These relationship-based skills are ones wherein women certainly excel.

During Loss and Grief, Be Compassionate with Yourself

Loss and grief are strong emotions that cause us to dig deeply inside ourselves for answers to questions that define our highest purpose and meaning in lifeAfter five years of marriage, Toni learned that her husband was cheating on her and wanted a divorce. Joni kissed her husband goodbye 18 months ago, when he shipped out; today she learned he’s coming home in a coffin. Dawn had given 20 years to a job she loved, when her boss let her go, because they “have to downsize”. What do all of these people have in common? They all have feelings of great loss and grief. Whether or not they come out of it stronger or damaged will depend on how they travel through the grieving process.

Perhaps you’ve had to experience a similar situation where something you cherish has been ripped out of your hands. That pain can be unbearable and may seem like it will never go away. When this happens, please be very kind, gentle and compassionate with yourself. Your body, mind, and spirit need time to process what you’re going through and learn how to adjust to your new circumstances in life.

Even if you’ve never experienced deep loss and grief, please use this information to prepare yourself. Loss and grief will blindside you otherwise, especially if you have unresolved issues. When you have healthy systems in place before a life-altering tragedy befalls you, you will have the internal resources for coping with it in a healthier manner.

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10 Tools to Achieve Healthy Interdependence (And Why That Matters)

10 Tools to Achieve Healthy Interdependence (And Why That Matters)Americans love independence! After living in various countries, I’ve noticed that being independent is the foundation of this nation’s psyche. In the past, success was even defined as “the self-made man”. He was respected and praised for clawing his way to the top. He didn’t need anyone! It didn’t matter that it cost him his wife, his children, his community, his health.

Happily, people are paying attention to the wakeup call that independence isn’t the end of the human journey. It’s only one of the stages in the natural progression of human growth — dependence leads to independence. And the next step is healthy interdependence, for “no man is an island.” We, as humans, don’t function well in isolation. We need to be part of a community, to belong.

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Is Emotional Dependence Holding You Back? Learn to Be Your Own Person & Thrive

We all can transition from emotional dependence to resourceful, self-regulating people by achieving awareness of these basic steps to emotional independence“She needed a hero, so that’s what she became.” ~ unknown

Are you drawn to people who are kind and self-assured? I am! I love being around people who are comfortable in their own skins and who easily interact with other people. You can tell they love people, but you sense that their happiness isn’t dependent on others but comes from within. They’re the embodiment of someone who has successfully grown from youthful emotional dependent to mature emotional independence.

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Leaders and Coaches — Being Genuine Surpasses Being Perfect Every Day!

Older woman is happy being genuine and authentic“Authenticity requires a certain measure of vulnerability, transparency and integrity.” ~ Janet Louise Stephenson

 Dee wanted more than anything to be a leader at work. She read every personal development book and took night courses to improve her speaking ability. She took weekend seminars to learn coaching techniques. She even did online NLP training, because she knew it would give her a competitive edge. As a team leader, she had all the right moves, but they were too practiced, too polished, too mechanical. In all of her training, she never acquired enough self-confidence to let her own personality shine through, to be vulnerable enough so people could see who she really was. As a result, she wasn’t able to connect with her team. She just hadn’t learned the knack of being genuine.

You and I both know that there’s a huge difference between someone acting like they’re interested and truly being interested. Putting on a show, going through the motions feels manipulative and off-putting. Leaders are far more effective when they are being genuine and can inspire trust and respect through their every-day actions.

If you tend to be defensive or guarded because of past hurts, being genuine can be a real challenge. But you have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Take a look at some of the ways being genuine will enhance the quality of your life

Being genuine means you realize not everyone will like or agree with you and that’s okay. Being popular and getting praise isn’t your motivation — doing your best is!

Being genuine means you know your values and ethics. You’re kind and willing to let others live as they want to live, but they’re not going to shake your convictions.

Being genuine means you have the strength to make unpopular decisions. You trust your gut even when the majority are on a different path.

Being genuine means you’re approachable. People can sense that you’re truly interested in them.

Being genuine means you walk your own path, not someone else’s. You don’t have to pretend to be someone that you’re not, just to please others.

Being genuine means you recognize the good in others and see their strengths. You don’t have to hog the limelight, but you support and give generously of your knowledge and resources so they can excel at what they do best.

Being genuine means you treat everyone with respect no matter who they are. It’s important for you to dignify each person you meet, whether it’s family, friends, co-workers, or the stranger in line in front of you who’s taking “hours” to make their coffee selection at your local coffee shop.

Being genuine means you’re living in harmony with your purpose. This grounds you so you’re not swayed by the latest fad or craze.

Being genuine means keeping your word. You don’t tell people what you think they want to hear. Nor do you promise something, knowing full well you never intend on following through.

Being genuine means you see things for what they are. You don’t sensationalize comments or actions, adding meanings where none were intended. You don’t imagine slights where there are none. You give people the benefit of the doubt. And you positively look to learn from any feedback you receive.

Being genuine means you improve yourself, not try to “fix” someone else. You realize you are the only one who can change you; you’re not waiting for someone else to improve a situation.

Being genuine means you don’t hide or hold back. You’re not afraid of intimacy or connecting deeply with people. Yes, some people might disappoint you. But your life is richer for the good connections that you do make. It’s okay for people to see your vulnerabilities.

Being genuine takes a great deal of self-awareness and self-acceptance. I’ve found that a practice of mindfulness really helps. It leads to confidence that can’t be shaken. And it helps you excel at your chosen endeavors. It grounds you in reality. It lets you enjoy life to the full. It speaks to others and draws them to you.

Sometimes we can’t see ourselves clearly. We can either under-value or over-estimate ourselves. If you’d like some impartial and extremely helpful feedback, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to help you discover hidden strengths you can build upon to achieve the life you desire and deserve.

Healing Toxic Shame to Rekindle Hope, Confidence and Courage

Healing Toxic Shame to Rekindle Hope, Confidence and Courage“Shame is a soul eating emotion.” ~ Carl Gustav Jung

What’s your secret? You know…the thing that causes you such intense shame and embarrassment you just know you’ll die if anyone else finds out! It might be that thing that happened years ago that you can’t ever live down. Or it could be an undefined feeling of failure because authority figures in your past used shame to “discipline” you. Whatever the cause, this kind of toxic shame can be healed.

Toxic shame gnaws at a person. It can consume you and destroy your self-worth and self-confidence. It makes you feel unlovable and unworthy. You become so busy beating yourself up you can’t be fully present in the moment or see the opportunities right in front of you. I appreciate how Brené Brown likens it to a corrosive element like rust or acid:

“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”

A milder form of shame isn’t necessarily a problem as it simply informs you that you can learn from the experience at hand. However, toxic shame is insidious and keeps you trapped. Let’s clarify, too, that toxic shame is different from guilt. Guilt arises from a negative evaluation of your behavior, while shame arises from a negative evaluation of you as a person.  Guilt is the feeling of doing wrong, and can motivate you to change your behavior. Shame is the toxic feeling of being wrong leading to the hopeless cry of “Why try?” You end up saying things like:

  • I’m so stupid.
  • I can’t do anything right!
  • I’m always saying or doing the wrong thing. 
  • What’s wrong with me?
  • I’m so fat and ugly. 
  • I can’t go, because I don’t want anyone seeing me like this.
  • I’m such a mess. 
  • I hate myself.

Toxic shame is responsible for worsening anxiety, depression or other mental and emotional disorders. It triggers unhealthy and destructive behaviors, such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and drinking, self-harming and cutting.

If you find yourself in a cycle of ruminating and reliving shameful episodes in your life, what can you do to break out of this destructive toxic shame pattern?

  1. Call the bully out! People who shame others are bullies. (Note: You could be bullying yourself with shame-filled, negative self-talk.) No, you don’t have to confront the bullies in your life. Simply reframe their abusive remarks as bullying, not truths. In that way you begin the process of being objective and you can lessen the power that episode has over you.
  1. Expose toxic shame to the light. Shame thrives in secrecy, but can’t survive in the open. If you try to suppress it, it grows. However, if you think or talk about whatever is making you feel ashamed, although painful at first, you’ll soon feel much less ashamed. Just be cautious of who you reveal your shame to. As Brené Brown says, “If we share our shame story with the wrong person, they can easily become one more piece of flying debris in an already dangerous storm.”
  1. Write it out, if you can’t talk about it. Without censoring yourself, let your thoughts flow onto the paper. It’s especially helpful if you write it as if you’re writing a letter to the “shame bully”, although you won’t actually mail it to them. Then put it away in a safe place and go for a walk and review how you make life better for those around you. When you come back, review your written words objectively. More often than not, some of the sting will have eased.
  1. Ramp up your positive emotions. Fill up on gratitude, hope and courage. It will leave little or no room for sadness, fear and disgust, which are the negative emotions that produce shame.
  1. Turn your toxic shame into healthy pride. Focus on the good person that you are and all the good things that you do. If you have trouble seeing good in yourself, ask trusted friends what they most appreciate about you as a person.
  1. Be compassionate with yourself. You are a work in progress. Trust that you will get better at letting go of shame the more you mindfully practice your shame-busting skills.

NLP reframing is a great tool for ridding yourself of toxic shame and rebuilding confidence, hope and courage. It works best when a skilled, caring person helps you. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to help you add this tool to your life skills toolkit.

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